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European Payments Council and Cards Stakeholders Group Release Version 6.5 of the SEPA Cards Standardisation

The European Payments Council (EPC), representing the European banking industry in relation to payments, together with the Cards Stakeholders Group (CSG) today published version 6.5 of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) Cards Standardisation Volume for a six-week public consultation. 

This document defines a standard set of requirements to ensure an interoperable and scalable card and terminal infrastructure across SEPA, based on open international card standards. All market participants and interested parties are invited to provide feedback by 14 July 2013.

The European Union authorities driving forward the SEPA programme identified the need to create harmonised standardisation requirements in the SEPA cards domain early in the process of integrating the market for electronic euro payments. This was reinforced by the European Economic and Financial Affairs Council when it requested that the industry should set the conditions for further standardisation in the area of cards. This request was repeatedly echoed by the European Central Bank. The work of the EPC and the CSG supports this vision.

EPC Chair Javier Santamaría, says: “Continuation of the CSG’s self-regulatory role and the effective implementation of the harmonised SEPA cards standardisation requirements contained in the Cards Standardisation Volume is the most appropriate and efficient way to achieve further integration of the European cards market.” The documentation relevant to the 2013 public consultation on version 6.5 of the SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume is available on the EPC Website. As with previous releases, version 6.5 of the volume is an interim version.

CSG Co-Chair Jeremy Massey, comments: “Based on the outcome of the public consultation on version 6.5, the CSG plans to release a stable version 7.0 of the Cards Standardisation Volume in early 2014 ready for market implementation. The CSG has delivered this major SEPA project in a Europe-wide multi-stakeholder environment and within a timescale perspective aligned with the evolution and maintenance cycle of international card standards.”

Ugo Bechis, Chair of the EPC Cards Working Group and CSG Co-Chair, adds: “The dialogue taking place in the CSG ensures the open and constructive co-management of the processes related to the identification of common standards requirements and implementation of best practices compliant with such requirements, which will promote interoperability and foster competition in the SEPA cards domain.”

The CSG is a multi-stakeholder body representing retailers, vendors, processors, card schemes and the EPC. Created in 2009, the CSG develops and maintains the SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume, and focuses on a cards standardisation programme that will create a better, safer, more cost efficient and functionally richer card services environment, whatever the card product or scheme may be.

The evolution of the SEPA Cards Standardisation Volume reflects the progress of the CSG’s work. In 2012, the CSG decided to split the previously single, stand-alone document into a series of separate books, which together form version 6.5 of the volume released for a six-week public consultation today. The new structure improves usability and allows for greater flexibility regarding the maintenance of the documentation. It facilitates the issuing of updated versions of the volume with amendments only to individual books as required.

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